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What is a Unitary Development Plan?.
Status of the UDP.
Summary of Public Consultation Stages.
Sustainable Development.
Foreword
1. Introduction Part 1
2. Introduction Part 2
3. Environment
4. Housing
5. Employment
6. Transportation
7. Retailing
8. Tourism and Leisure
9. Sport & Recreation
10. Social & Community Services & Facilities
11. Minerals
12. Waste
13. Unstable Land
14. Energy & Utilities
15. Regeneration
16. Implementation, Resources & Monitoring
Appendix
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Justification of Part 1 Policies
Part 2
Introduction
The Sustainable Use Of Resources
Energy Provision
Energy Conservation
The Efficient Use Of Energy
Policy U1
Renewable Energy Resources
Exploiting Wind Energy In Principle
Policy U2
Detailed Considerations To Be Assessed In Exploiting Wind Energy
Policy U3
Gas Services, Electricity Supplies And Other Utilities
Utility Services Development And The Environment
Policy U4
High Voltage Power Lines And Residential Development
Policy U5
Water Supplies
Water Supply Demand And Development
Policy U6
Enhancing Water Supplies
Policy U7
Sewerage Facilities And Sewage Disposal
Sewage Disposal And Development
Policy U8
Telecommunications Services
Development For Telecommunications Purposes In Principle
Policy U9
Constraints On The Location Of Telecommunications Developments
Policy U10
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14. ENERGY AND UTILITIES


14.1. Justification of Part 1 Policies

14.1.1. The Land Use Strategy for the UDP seeks to ensure that the area’s requirements for energy and utility services are fully satisfied, while the potential from local renewable sources is optimised, each consistent with the need to conserve the environment of the County Borough.


14.1.2. Telecommunication and utility service developments (including energy generation by renewable means) are the subject of specific national planning guidance. Basically the Government wishes people to have a greater choice and range of telecommunications services, whilst society’s need for energy should also be satisfied. Each aspiration should, however, be consistent with the aims of sustainable development. This means that economic considerations, logistical interests, and matters related to the technology of the service and/or the location of the energy resource, should not be allowed to outweigh the need to conserve the environment as a whole. Individual and/or cumulative impacts of developments should also be taken into account in the national, regional and local interest.

14.1.3. Policy 19 provides a strategic planning perspective for development associated with telecommunications and utility services including renewable energy development. It not only takes into account the favourable economic location of the County Borough astride the M4 corridor in South East Wales, but also the physical and environmental capacity of the area to accommodate development, the intervisibility of development (especially proposals for the exploitation of renewable energy) in the sub-region, the need to avoid flood risks, and the hierarchical importance of the location of proposals in planning and environmental terms.

14.1.4. Improved energy efficiency should be a key component of all new developments and redevelopment schemes in the County Borough. Policy 20 provides the strategic planning context for Part 2 policies which address the layout, design, materials and construction of new, and the refurbishment or redevelopment of existing, buildings or sites. It will assist the County Borough Council to fulfil its statutory duties under the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995, and “A Better Quality of Life” - the National Sustainable Development Strategy (May 1999).

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Part 2

14.2. Introduction

14.2.1. The concept of sustainable development emphasises that protection of the environment, and the conservation of the natural resources of our planet, must be balanced against the need for development.

14.2.2. The Brundtland Report, World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future (1987) focused on the threat to the security of life and the erosion of the quality of life by human actions. In particular, it highlighted the fact that energy and resources were being misused, ecosystems altered, and pollutants and wastes released, which have undermined the future ability of our planet to support life. To counter this, by adopting the principle of sustainable development we must accept that to protect the environment, limitations must be placed on certain aspects of human behaviour.

14.2.3. For development to be sustainable it must therefore respect the need to reduce the use of energy and resources (such as water, gas, oil and other raw materials), reduce the production of wastes (and thereby cut the potential for pollution), and to protect the diversity of life. Economic growth need not necessarily be in conflict with environmental aims, but, rather the aim should be one of coexistence, thereby improving environmental efficiency and developing more ‘environmentally-friendly’ industrial and social attitudes to the use of resources.

14.2.4. At the national level, the provision of utility services in the UK changed considerably during the 1980’s. All of the main service agencies - providing water, electricity, gas, and telecommunications - were formerly administered by public authorities (or ‘statutory undertakers’), which were largely independent of normal planning control. Since the end of that decade, each of those services is now either the responsibility of, or has been largely contracted out to, private companies.

14.2.5. There are publicly appointed Regulators for each service industry who must take any reasonable measures to ensure satisfactory service delivery in the public interest, e.g. the Office of Electricity Regulation (OFFER) oversees the electricity industry from its generators, through its distributors and providers, to the consumer. All of the Regulators have regional control over their respective services.

14.2.6. In addition, following the Environment Act 1995, the Environment Agency - Wales (EAW) was established which brought together the responsibilities of the former National Rivers Authority (NRA), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Pollution (HMIP), Waste Regulation Authorities, and some technical units of the former Welsh Office. It is the function of the EAW to monitor the activities of all service providers and developers; to take a proactive approach towards its involvement in the planning process; and to see that this as an integral part of its work to protect and enhance the environment in Wales.

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14.3. The Sustainable Use of Resources

14.3.1. The publication of the Government White Paper This Common Inheritance (Cm. 1200) in 1990 was a landmark with respect to the future exploitation of the nation’s resources, including energy generation, in that it was the first survey of national policies which took an holistic view, incorporating an overview of environmental issues. A wider assessment of that White Paper and the subsequent development of the published UK Strategies for Sustainable Development, Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Sustainable Forestry following on from the ‘Rio Earth Summit’ in 1992, have already been considered in the Environment Chapter of the UDP. This Chapter acknowledges, and extends, the principle of good stewardship of our environment to the exploitation of the County Borough’s sources of energy and provision of utility services.

14.3.2. The White Paper introduced two principles which have particular importance for the formulation of planning policies dealing with Energy and Utilities, notably the ‘precautionary principle’, and the ‘polluter pays’ principle. Welsh Planning Guidance reiterates those principles, advising that they should be applied when planning for energy, telecommunications, and utilities in development plans.

14.3.3. In preparing its UDP, the Council acknowledges that its actions can influence investment and development activity not only through proposed land-use change, but also by the provision of infrastructure for energy and utilities. Similarly, the Plan must be influenced significantly by Central Government’s environmental policies and its international commitments towards promoting sustainable development. On the 31 July 1996, the County Borough Council resolved:-

That the concept of Sustainable Development be embraced by the Council and that support be given for the integration of its aims into the Council’s Policies and activities.

14.3.4. The Council had previously resolved:-

That approval be granted for the setting up of a Local Agenda 21 Working Party and supporting working groups to formulate corporate environmental aims, to produce an Environmental Policy, and to set targets for improved environmental performance based on the principles of the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).

14.3.5. The latter Scheme formally came into operation on 12 April 1995 (WO Circular 9/95 refers) and the County Borough Council endorsed its objectives in January 1996. This has significant implications for the sustainable development of energy resources, and provision of the relevant infrastructure for utilities in the County Borough.

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14.4. Energy Provision

14.4.1. The Energy White Paper - Energy Sources for Power Generation (October 1998) sets out the Government’s key aims for energy which are to ensure secure, diverse and sustainable supplies of energy at competitive prices, but within a strong policy context which is also flexible enough to respond to changing national needs and international obligations for a cost-effective climate change programme. In this respect, the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) has primary responsibility for energy policy, licensing of new generating capacity, and control of supplies within the UK, under the provisions of the Energy Act 1976.

14.4.2. In view of their nature, fossil fuels will inevitably run out. Consequently, the exploitation of new and renewable energies will become increasingly important as energy sources for the new millennium. National energy policy is therefore..... to stimulate the exploitation and development of renewable energy sources wherever they have a prospect of being economically attractive and environmentally acceptable. Renewable energy sources are defined as:-

.....those which are continuously and sustainably available in our environment.

Renewable Energy sources therefore include: the wind, waste combustion (including anaerobic digestion and landfill gas production), active solar systems, energy crops and wood fuel (or biomass), and water (including hydro-power, wave, and tidal generation).

14.4.3. The Government has set a key priority for renewable energy sources to provide 10% of UK electricity supplies as soon as possible or by 2010 (which entails providing for 5% of national electricity needs by 2003 compared with the current figure of 2% in 1999). However the aim does not stop there, rather it is seen as an initial step towards the longer term objective which envisages renewables generating power to heat and transport homes, industry and commerce for centuries to come.

Bristol Channel - Porthcawl

14.4.4. The Government’s Consultation Paper - New & Renewable Energy: Prospects for the 21st Century (March 1999) confirms that renewables are not only important in generating jobs and developing future industries, but will also play a crucial role in enabling the UK to meet its environmental targets of reducing greenhouse gases by 12.5% by 2008-2012, and reducing its emissions of Carbon Dioxide by 20% by 2010. In addition, reforms are continuing with a view to improving the operation of energy markets and to enable renewables to compete more effectively in the market-place, e.g. by the development of ‘green electricity’ options for customers, and the promotion of ‘environmental credit vouchers’ to consumers of energy.

14.4.5. These national policies have been taken on board by the South East Wales Strategic Planning Group in preparing Strategic Planning Guidance for the preparation of UDPs in South East Wales. The Guidance investigated the current problems evident in the supply and demand for energy in the subregion and has identified five key issues to be addressed by its constituent authorities:-

  1. To reduce the need for energy by encouraging improved efficiencies in its local use;
  2. To achieve self-sufficiency in supply of energy in the short term by supporting the development of new generating capacity, while resisting the
    loss of existing generating capacity which can be sustainably and economically up-graded;
  3. To support the NAW in its future efforts to set realistic ‘target needs’ for energy in Wales (in general), and SE Wales (in particular) and those urgent changes needed to current planning guidance;
  4. To support growth in the local exploitation of renewables, as a component of a future sustainable energy strategy for South Wales; and
  5. To assist the sub-region in becoming a net exporter of energy in the longer term by encouraging the development of its renewable energy potential subject to the appropriate environmental safeguards being applied to future locations.

14.4.6. The above national policies and key strategic issues have been taken into account by the Council in the preparation of the following Policies of the UDP. It therefore recognises the need for renewable energy to be locally exploited where environmentally acceptable, and acknowledges the contribution such development can make to meeting the future demand for energy at local, regional and national levels.

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14.5. Energy Conservation

14.5.1. THE EFFICIENT USE OF ENERGY

POLICY U1

DEVELOPMENT WHICH ENCOURAGES THE MORE EFFICIENT USE OF ENERGY AND/OR WHICH CONSERVES ITS SUPPLY WILL BE FAVOURED.

14.5.2. The performance of the local construction industry towards energy conservation by promoting integrated energy efficiency and management through innovative design, layout and materials in new developments (as advocated by Policy EV45 will be appraised and audited under the Council’s LA21 Strategy through its Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). The realisation of a site’s renewable energy generation potential and/or through mutual economy with the development of other sites, development proposals which encourage or support urban regeneration and consequently reduce the need to travel by private car to sites on the edge of built-up areas, can all potentially contribute to more sustainable forms of development, and will therefore generally be supported by the Council subject to those proposals satisfying the other aims, objectives and policies of the UDP.

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14.6. Renewable Energy Resources

14.6.1. The UDP takes into account the fact that many renewable energy resources may only be exploited where they occur, and in this respect, the County Borough has potential for resources to be developed both on land, and off-shore. Although those potential renewable energy resources range across most of the generation options already stated (para.14.4.2), nevertheless, with a very few exceptions, such as local waste to energy projects, only the exploitation of land-based wind power has stimulated substantive commercial interest to date. The potential off-shore wind resource to the County Borough has also been acknowledged in public forums, and is currently the subject of more intensive commercial scrutiny.

14.6.2. The Council encourages the renewables industry and potential developers to seek its early views on the likely future uptake of renewable energy resources in the County Borough. The sharing of knowledge with neighbouring authorities is similarly valuable and will continue to be pursued, as the economics of pursuing a particular renewable source in one area might be overcome by co-operation in order to realise its potential elsewhere. With respect to sources such as wind and water, the location of development will generally be fairly fixed, however, other renewable resources may enjoy greater locational flexibility, whilst retaining identifiable requirements such as proximity to, or good connections with the area which is to be served. The proximity of suitable connections to the national electricity grid however, will continue to be a key factor in the future location of new development which will exploit renewable energy sources.

Windfarm near Pencoed

14.6.3. EXPLOITING WIND ENERGY IN PRINCIPLE

POLICY U2

PROPOSALS FOR WIND TURBINES AND WIND FARMS WILL BE ENCOURAGED IN THE INTERESTS OF PROTECTING VALUABLE ENERGY SOURCES AND LIMITING EMISSIONS OF GREENHOUSE GASES. DEVELOPMENT WILL BE PERMITTED IF:

1. THE SITE DOES NOT LIE WITHIN THE GLAMORGAN HERITAGE COAST;

2. BY VIRTUE OF ITS SIZE, DESIGN AND SITING, THE DEVELOPMENT WOULD NOT BE VISUALLY INTRUSIVE IN A DESIGNATED SPECIAL LANDSCAPE AREA, OR A DESIGNATED HISTORIC LANDSCAPE, PARK OR GARDEN;

3. BY VIRTUE OF ITS SIZE, DESIGN AND SITING, THE DEVELOPMENT WOULD NOT BE HARMFUL TO THE SETTING OF A LISTED BUILDING OR THE CHARACTER AND APPEARANCE OF A CONSERVATION AREA;

4. THE DEVELOPMENT WOULD NOT BE DEMONSTRABLY HARMFUL TO THE NATURE CONSERVATION INTEREST OF THE KENFIG cSAC OR A SSSI;

THE CUMULATIVE, AS WELL AS INDIVIDUAL, IMPACT OF DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS ON SENSITIVE ENVIRONMENTS WILL BE ASSESSED

14.6.4. The County Borough contains landscapes, areas, sites, parks, gardens, and buildings of national and international importance for their intrinsic qualities (including their undeveloped character, landscape, nature conservation, archaeological, scientific, architectural and historic significance). It also shares a coastline on the Bristol Channel and an attractive seascape with adjoining authorities in Wales, and off-shore areas of South West England. Therefore, in accordance with the precautionary principle, the Council will seek to protect the above areas from all intrusive or harmful development, which will have an adverse impact on those interests detailed in the criteria contained in Policy U2.

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14.6.5. DETAILED CONSIDERATIONS TO BE ASSESSED IN EXPLOITING WIND ENERGY

POLICY U3

PROPOSALS FOR WIND TURBINES AND WIND FARMS WHICH DO NOT CONFLICT WITH POLICY U2 WILL BE PERMITTED PROVIDED THAT:

1. THEY WOULD NOT ADVERSELY AFFECT THE LOCAL ENVIRONMENT, INCLUDING ANY BIODIVERSITY INTERESTS, TAKING ACCOUNT OF ANY AVAILABLE MITIGATION MEASURES;

2. THE AVAILABILITY OF IDENTIFIED MINERAL RESOURCES OR RESERVES WILL NOT BE STERILISED;

3. APPROPRIATE ARRANGEMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE FOR THE SATISFACTORY PRESERVATION AND/OR RECORDING OF FEATURES OF LOCAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL, ARCHITECTURAL OR HISTORIC INTEREST;

4. THEY CAN BE SAFELY ACCESSED TO PERMIT REGULAR MAINTENANCE WITHOUT DETRIMENT TO THE ENVIRONMENT OR THE PUBLIC RIGHTS OF WAY NETWORK;

5. THEY WILL NOT DETRIMENTALLY AFFECT LOCAL AMENITY BY REASON OF NOISE EMISSION, VISUAL DOMINANCE, SHADOW FLICKER, REFLECTED LIGHT, THE EMISSION OF SMOKE, FUMES, HARMFUL GASES, DUST, NOR OTHERWISE CAUSE POLLUTION TO THE LOCAL ENVIRONMENT;

6. THEY WILL NOT LEAD TO ELECTROMAGNETIC DISTURBANCE TO EXISTING TRANSMITTING AND RECEIVING SYSTEMS (WHICH INCLUDES NAVIGATION AND EMERGENCY SERVICES), THEREBY PREJUDICING PUBLIC SAFETY; AND

7. PROPER PROVISION HAS BEEN MADE (IF NECESSARY, BY THE CONCLUSION OF APPROPRIATE PLANNING OBLIGATIONS/ AGREEMENTS WITH THE COUNCIL), FOR THE REMOVAL OF ALL INFRASTRUCTURE FROM, AND REINSTATEMENT OF THE SITE, FOLLOWING TERMINATION OF THE USE.

14.6.6. Policies U2 and U3 recognise the national need for the generation of renewable energy, and the contribution which the County Borough’s resources can make to meeting local, regional and national demands. In this sense, provided that a proposed development has satisfied Policy U2, it should then be assessed upon its merits, against the detailed criteria contained in Policy U3. All forms of development associated with the exploitation of wind energy and their ancillary facilities are subject to scrutiny under the above, and any other relevant Policies contained in the UDP. In view of the presence of physical conditions and wind speeds favourable to its exploitation, the Council expects that wind power will continue to be the renewable resource most likely to be favoured and pursued locally.

14.6.7. Wind turbines can differ in appearance and height and can be sited individually, or collectively as ‘wind farms’. Until recently, land-based locations on uplands, the coast, and particularly exposed locations have been favoured by the industry, i.e. where the highest and most consistent mean wind speeds are to be found, but off-shore locations are also being currently explored. Consequently, it is expected that such locations will continue to be sought by developers for this type of development in the County Borough, its neighbouring authorities and off-shore.

14.6.8. Whereas the Council exercises its planning powers over the location of land-based renewable energy developments (including wind turbines), decisions on any future off-shore renewable proposals, i.e. beyond mean high water mark, will fall within the purview of other Government Departments and Crown Agencies, but they must take into account the policies and views of the Council. Notwithstanding this, the Council retains powers over land-based ancillary structures which will be needed for connections to be made to the terrestrial electricity grid, and it will therefore be necessary for such proposals to be carefully considered in the context of the UDP’s policies - especially as they will be situated in the defined Coastal Zone and its setting.

14.6.9. The Council considers that, wind turbine developments should be assessed with regard to their effects on residential amenity, and any electromagnetic disturbances which they may cause e.g. upon the communications of the emergency services. This is also important with respect to any future off-shore installations, where electromagnetic effects must not be allowed to endanger public safety in the form of marine and air navigation. Similarly, location will be a material factor. The Council, in taking its decisions, will balance the fact that these developments need open, exposed locations with high wind speeds against the need to protect the sensitive landscape areas where these criteria are often fulfilled. The criteria contained in both Policies U2 and U3 reflect this rationale.

14.6.10. The form and pattern of the landscape of the County Borough is such that it is relatively urbanised, and no part of its countryside lies more than 4-5 miles from a main urban settlement. Therefore most ‘upland’ wind farm proposals are likely to be visible from a settlement(s). All such proposals are to be the subject of an EIA. When determining proposals under Policies U2 and U3 of the UDP, the Council will also continue to be guided by the South Wales Renewable Energy Study and will apply it as Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG).

Main Electricity Grid near Heol-y-Cyw

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14.7. Gas Services, Electricity Supplies and Other Utilities

14.7.1. Nationally, the provision of gas services and electricity supplies are no longer mutually exclusive industries, as the private companies which supply those utilities are now able to commercially compete for domestic and industrial consumers of their products. There has been a “dash for gas” in recent years to fuel the burgeoning demand for electricity which was previously generated mainly by the other ‘fossil fuels’ of oil and coal, and to a lesser degree by nuclear power and renewables. Households in the County Borough already have a selection of private gas and electricity suppliers from whom they can choose their services, and this choice is likely to widen over the next few years. However, the different companies will share existing and proposed infrastructure to distribute their products/services to residents of the County Borough. In the case of gas services, the pipeline network is provided and maintained by Transco plc, whereas electricity is transmitted by The National Grid Company plc, and is distributed by Infralec (formely SWALEC) which is part of the Hyder Group.

14.7.2 UTILITY SERVICES DEVELOPMENT AND THE ENVIRONMENT

POLICY U4

DEVELOPMENT FOR THE PROVISION OF NEW, OR FOR THE REINFORCEMENT OF EXISTING GAS SERVICES, ELECTRICITY
SUPPLIES AND ANY OTHER UTILITY SERVICES, WHICH DO NOT HAVE AN ADVERSE IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE COUNTY BOROUGH WILL BE FAVOURED.

14.7.3. The provision of major strategic overground and underground utility service networks is not directly within the control of the Council as the ‘service companies’ are ‘statutory undertakers’ under the Town & Country Planning (GPD) Order 1995. The Council, however, is a statutory consultee on a wide range of proposed developments by the ‘Gas Suppliers and Electricity Undertakers’ who also have a statutory duty to have regard to features of the environment, and to mitigate any effects of their proposals. Policies U4 and U5 will therefore guide the Council’s response on such consultations and those of any other providers of utility services e.g. cable operators. Similarly, all service companies are expected to fully consult the Council prior to commencing their statutory operations, e.g. the excavation of new services and lines, as a matter of Good Practice and in order that the local planning authority can properly advise the companies concerned of any environmental constraints which may be present within, or be affected in the vicinity of the ‘operational land’ concerned.

14.7.4. In applying Policy U4, the Council will expect the ‘service companies’ to route all above-ground service lines in a manner which will minimise damage or disturbance to the environment, and reduce any potential sterilisation of identified mineral reserves or resources to an acceptable level. Where economically and technically feasible, and, where desirable on environmental grounds, services should be placed underground, and adequate restoration measures taken to minimise damage and disturbance to the environment, especially where this would lead to important environmental conflicts being resolved. The Council acknowledges, however that owing to the cost, technical and maintenance difficulties associated with environmental disturbance, it would be unusual for major power lines to be placed underground except in exceptional circumstances, e.g. in Conservation Areas, where services and lines should always be placed underground wherever practicable in the interests of conserving the built heritage. Measures should also be taken wherever feasible to rationalise service provision and reduce its visual impact. Effective services to new developments should be ensured by means of an orderly and co-ordinated programme of provision in order to minimise any further environmental disturbances.

14.7.5. The ‘service companies’ themselves also have statutory duties to have regard to features of the environment, and to mitigate any effects of their proposals. The President of the Board of Trade is required to examine how far the utility companies have complied with those duties in considering proposals. Such compliance can normally only be achieved by careful routing of lines to minimise their impact on the environment.

14.7.6. The Council is also a consultee on new high pressure gas lines, which, after they have been laid, become notifiable for the purpose of any future developments. There is a clear need to ensure that adequate restoration and replacement of habitats etc. takes place to remediate the effects of the provision of such underground services which can have an environmental impact over a much wider area. In addition, the provision of duplicate or back up facilities in the strategic networks can be an important consideration in ensuring continuity of supply. However, as this may also result in further visual intrusion, unnecessary additional provision should be avoided and networks rationalised, when feasible, to minimise any ongoing environmental disturbance.

Penybont Sewage Treatment Works, Merthyr Mawr Warren

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14.7.7 HIGH VOLTAGE POWER LINES AND RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT

POLICY U5

(A) DEVELOPMENT OF NEW UNDERGROUND OR OVERHEAD HIGH VOLTAGE TRANSMISSION LINES (OF 275 kV AND ABOVE AND THEIR RELATED INFRASTRUCTURE) WHICH HAS REGARD TO:-

1) THE AMENITY OF THE OCCUPIERS OF RESIDENTIAL PREMISES; AND

2) THE NEED TO MITIGATE ANY VISUAL IMPACTS OF PROPOSED TRANSMISSION LINES (INCLUDING THEIR TOWERS AND INFRASTRUCTURE)

WILL BE FAVOURED.

(B) DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS IN THE VICINITY OF EXISTING UNDERGROUND OR OVERHEAD HIGH VOLTAGE TRANSMISSION LINES (OF 275 kV AND ABOVE) WHICH HAVE REGARD TO:-

1) THE AMENITY OF FUTURE OCCUPIERS OF NEARBY RESIDENTIAL PREMISES;

2) ANY RELEVANT ELECTRICITY COMPANIES' REQUIREMENTS FOR ACCESS TO THEIR LINES;

3) ANY STATUTORY SAFETY CLEARANCE THAT MUST BE MAINTAINED BETWEEN, FOR EXAMPLE, OVERHEAD LINES (AND/OR THEIR TRANSMISSION TOWERS) AND THE GROUND, ROADS, TREES, AND OTHER PERMANENT STRUCTURES ON WHICH PEOPLE MAY STAND; AND WHICH INCORPORATE

4) THE NEED TO MITIGATE ANY VISUAL IMPACTS OF EXISTING TRANSMISSION LINES (INCLUDING THEIR TOWERS AND INFRASTRUCTURE) THROUGH THE CAREFUL USE OF LANDSCAPING AND DESIGN WITHIN THEIR OVERALL LAYOUT

WILL BE FAVOURED.

14.7.8. Bridgend CBC is a statutory consultee (‘relevant planning authority’) on applications for new overhead high voltage power lines and its necessary infrastructure. The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry considers these applications, any observations made by the Council and others, and determines them under Section 37 of the Electricity Act 1989. As with other development, any such proposals coming before the Council will be considered with due regard to all relevant policies contained within the UDP and to any other material planning considerations. However, it should be noted that the Council will be particularly concerned to protect those areas of the greatest landscape and/or nature, urban or historic conservation importance (as identified within the relevant policies of the UDP), and it will in all cases seek to achieve sustainable solutions to such utility service provision. However, proposals for other development, which fall to the Council as LPA to determine, in the vicinity of existing underground or overhead high voltage transmission lines (of 275kV and above), will similarly be expected to comply with the relevant electricity companies’ requirements for access to their lines and infrastructure, and to fully meet any statutory safety clearances which may be applicable and in force, otherwise they will not be permitted.

14.7.9. High voltage overhead transmission lines (275kV and above), their carrying towers and other infrastructure can have a dominant visual impact on the landscape. However, the careful design, layout, and landscaping of new development could mitigate such effects. The Council recognises that some concern has been raised over the perceived health risks associated with overhead power lines (or Electro-Magnetic Fields), and it will have particular regard to any relevant advice of the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) and/or any competent UK/EU Public Agency (which may be advised in any future Planning Regulations and national guidance), when it considers any new underground or overhead HVP lines of 275kV and above. Where it is not technically feasible and/or prohibitively expensive for power lines to be diverted or placed underground, careful layout, design and landscaping of proposed development co-ordinated with appropriate building orientation should be used to minimise any adverse impact of towers and cables. All proposals for development will be expected to comply with the relevant electricity companies’ requirements and to fully meet any statutory safety clearances which may be applicable and in force.

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14.8. Water Supplies

14.8.1. Following the privatisation of the water industry, the management of water supplies and sewerage services in the County Borough are now the responsibility of Welsh Water/Dwr Cymru, (WW) now owned by Glas Cymru a new 'not for profit' organisation. The Council continues to act in its capacity as an agency of the company, and with respect to its delegated responsibilities from the Environment Agency - Wales (EAW).

14.8.2. Strategic water supplies to the County Borough are provided by means of a trunk main which abstracts from the Llyn Brianne Reservoir which is situated in the Afon Tywi catchment in West Wales. However, this is supplemented from local groundwater sources and rivers especially for industrial purposes. The licensing and subsequent enforcement of water abstractions from surface and groundwater sources is the responsibility of the EAW. The latter also have a duty to secure the proper use of water resources, including assessing the need for related developments and ensuring that the most appropriate schemes are licensed. The EAW may also enter into, and maintain operating arrangements with WW, and collate and publish information from which assessments of actual and prospective demands for water and available resources are co-ordinated. ‘Droughts’ are managed using a system of ‘Drought Permits, Drought Orders and Environmental Drought Orders’ which are designed to optimise water supply at times of shortage, while protecting the water environment.

14.8.3. The functions of the EAW with respect to protecting the water environment, minimising flood risk and ensuring water quality are addressed in the Environment Chapter (Sections 3.8 and 3.10 refer) which also contains appropriate planning policies (Policies EV16 and EV17 refer).

14.8.4. In general terms, it is the view of the EAW and WW that the planned overall growth in demand for water in the County Borough should not be so great as to lead to any future shortages in supplies. However it is important that any further new development continues to be encouraged to seek locations which maximise existing provision and/or which supplement current supplies without detrimental environmental impact i.e. that water resources should be sustainably managed in order that future changes in climate and resultant changes for water demand can be met in the urban areas of Wales. Therefore:-

14.8.5. WATER SUPPLY DEMAND AND DEVELOPMENT

POLICY U6

DEVELOPMENT WHICH WOULD RESULT IN DEMAND FOR WATER THAT CANNOT BE MET WITHOUT DETRIMENT TO EXISTING USERS, AND/OR WHICH WOULD CONFLICT WITH POLICY EV17, WILL NOT BE PERMITTED.

14.8.6. As in the remainder of Wales, land-use and water resources are closely linked in the County Borough. Development in rural areas and its economy require local water supplies to be available, however land drainage, urbanisation and aforestation can all have a significant impact on the flow of rivers, ultimately affecting reservoir catchments and groundwater sources. Similarly, any increases in levels of water abstraction can have a direct impact on biodiversity and the natural environment. It is the duty of the EAW to balance these needs by means of their licensing regimes, and water efficiency is seen as an essential element in achieving that aim. The EAW are therefore seeking to promote water efficiency by both urban and rural users, in order that they abstract only the quantities of water which they ‘really do need’.

14.8.7. Housing and industry will remain the major urban consumers of water supplies, therefore the Council will continue to direct new development in the UDP primarily to the existing urban areas of the County Borough, where the strategic network can provide the most efficient economies of distribution and supply.

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14.8.8. ENHANCING WATER SUPPLIES

POLICY U7

DEVELOPMENT WHICH WILL REINFORCE STRATEGIC OR LOCAL WATER SUPPLIES WITHOUT HAVING A DETRIMENTAL IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT WILL BE FAVOURED.

14.8.9. In rural areas of the County Borough, the agricultural industry is the main user of water, and permitted development rights extend to ‘structures and excavations which are reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture, within an agricultural unit of 5ha. or more’. A reservoir for irrigating farmland would generally be regarded as reasonably necessary for this purpose, however, the classification of an on-farm reservoir as an ‘excavation’ or a ‘building, structure or works’ would reflect the physical form of the development. Where a planning application is required for the construction of an on-farm reservoir the Council will therefore generally favour it, provided that it will not adversely affect interests of acknowledged environmental importance, that the necessary safeguards are observed throughout its construction, and it is appropriately landscaped to maintain local visual amenity.

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14.9. Sewerage Facilities and Sewage Disposal

14.9.1. Domestic and industrial sewage disposal in the County Borough takes place at the main sewage treatment works (STWs) upstream from the River Ogmore estuary (the Penybont STW), and in the Llynfi Valley (at the Lletty Brongu STW).

14.9.2. There remains substantial capacity for further input into the Penybont STW even after the connected improvements and reinforcements, which have been carried out during the last 15 years to the strategic sewerage facility network (at Porthcawl, Pencoed and Kenfig Hill/Pyle), have been incorporated.

14.9.3. Improvements are also underway in the Llynfi Valley sewerage and water catchment area where the Lletty Brongu STW (which has a close relationship with the nearby ‘Fort James’ Paper Mills) is to be up-graded, and a number of schemes (which include the upgrading and replacement of sewers in places, and the construction of new combined storm water overflow structures, storage tanks etc. at locations progressing down the valley from Caerau in the north) is already underway. The former Marlas STW at Pyle was abandoned in 1992, and foul sewage from that area is now dealt with at the new Afan Waste Water Treatment Works and associated outfall in the neighbouring Neath/Port Talbot County Borough.

14.9.4. SEWAGE DISPOSAL AND DEVELOPMENT

POLICY U8

DEVELOPMENT WHICH CANNOT BE ECONOMICALLY AND ADEQUATELY SERVED BY EXISTING, OR PROPOSED MAINS SEWERAGE AND/OR TEMPORARY SEWAGE DISPOSAL FACILITIES, WILL NOT BE PERMITTED.

14.9.5. In order to protect the environment and local amenities from potential pollution and detrimental impact, the Council considers that all new development should seek locations which utilise existing and proposed sewerage infrastructure provision where there is sufficient spare capacity in the system to accommodate its needs. Proposed development at sites, or in areas, where neither mains services nor temporary sewage disposal facilities can be economically and adequately provided, will not therefore be favoured. Policy U8 will particularly apply to housing proposals in rural areas (except those which have been proved to be necessary for agricultural or forestry purposes) in rural areas where problems of permanent connection to the mains sewerage network of the County Borough may not be economical, or would present long term pressures on public resources.

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14.10. Telecommunications Services

14.10.1. It is the Government’s policy that people should have access to a greater choice of provider and range of telecommunications services, provided that the environmental impact of that industry’s infrastructure is minimised. The latter can be achieved through mast and site sharing, sensitive design, location, and securing sites for shared use by operators. Pre-development discussions with the local planning authority, reference to the Welsh Assembly Government's Code of Best Practice on Mobile Phone Network Development (2003), and consideration of land-use planning and electromagnetic field data will also assist in achieving these aims.

14.10.2.The Council acknowledges that up-to-date telecommunications facilities are increasingly important to the well-being of local services and the economy of the County Borough; and due to advances in technology may reduce the need for physical journeys. Therefore, it will continue to facilitate the growth of new and existing telecommunications systems through its planning policies, which assess the provision of suitable sites for proposed installations, having had regard to the technical and operational considerations of the industry, while taking into full account any intrusion or impact of development upon the environmental amenity of neighbouring areas.

14.10.3. DEVELOPMENT FOR TELECOMMUNICATIONS PURPOSES IN PRINCIPLE

POLICY U9

DEVELOPMENT FOR TELECOMMUNICATIONS PURPOSES WILL BE PERMITTED ONLY WHERE:-

1. SUBJECT TO TECHNICAL AND LEGAL LIMITATIONS, ITS SITING AND DESIGN WOULD MINIMISE ANY HARM TO THE CHARACTER AND APPEARANCE OF THE TOWNSCAPE OR LANDSCAPE OF THE SURROUNDING AREA OR TO VIEWS FROM ELSEWHERE;

2. ALL PRACTICABLE POSSIBILITIES OF SHARING EXISTING FACILITIES (INCLUDING MASTS) AND SITES HAVE BEEN FULLY EXPLORED AND DEMONSTRATED TO BE UNSUITABLE;

3. WHERE NECESSARY, IT CAN BE ADEQUATELY LANDSCAPED AND/OR SCREENED; AND

4. IN THE CASE OF TV/RADIO MASTS AND SATELLITE DISHES, THERE ARE NO ACCEPTABLE OPTIONS FOR ERECTING ANTENNAE ONTO EXISTING BUILDINGS, STRUCTURES OR SITES.

Werfa Telecommunications Mast, Mynydd LLangeinwr

14.10.4. The installation of many telecommunications systems is covered by permitted development rights, which may be subject to the Council’s prior approval of details of siting and appearance. Nevertheless, it will expect all new developments for telecommunications purposes to be sited and designed, subject to technical and legal limitations, in a manner which will retain the environmental quality, character and appearance of the landscape or townscape in which they are proposed, and without detrimental impact or harm locally to the environment either during construction or in the post-development/maintenance periods. Similarly, proposals should not diminish the visual amenity of those areas when they are viewed from elsewhere.

14.10.5. Telecommunications operators are encouraged to investigate all options to share existing facilities and sites in order that visual intrusion into the natural and built environment is minimised. Notwithstanding this, proposals for shared facilities whose cumulative impact on existing buildings or structures would create visually obtrusive features will be firmly resisted by the Council. Conversely, masts, dishes and antennae which blend in with their backgrounds, and/or which are sited as far as practicable to minimise their impact on the amenity and external appearance of buildings will be encouraged. Sensitive landscaping or screening of infrastructure (which may incorporate innovative designs in keeping with their localities) will also be favourably considered. The Council is compiling a list of sites in the County Borough which are currently occupied by telecommunications' facilities. The National Land Use database also contains similar information.

14.10.6. CONSTRAINTS ON THE LOCATION OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS DEVELOPMENTS

POLICY U10

BEARING IN MIND THE TECHNICAL AND LEGAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY, PROPOSALS FOR NEW TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES SHOULD NOT ADVERSELY AFFECT:

1) THE NATURAL BEAUTY OF THE GLAMORGAN HERITAGE COAST;

2) THE NATURE CONSERVATION INTEREST OF THE KENFIG cSAC;

3) THE NATURE CONSERVATION INTEREST OF SSSIs;

4) THE CHARACTER, APPEARANCE OR SETTING OF CONSERVATION AREAS, ANCIENT MONUMENTS OR LISTED BUILDINGS.

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